Monday, January 15, 2018

Martin Luther King, Jr.: On Self-Importance and Fools

We are, in the United States, once again celebrating the anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have commemorated the civil rights leader twice previously on the blog. However, since this year - 2018 - marks the 50th anniversary of the civil rights leader's assassination, I wanted to dig a little deeper, so I went to my personal library to see just how many publications reference, in one way or another, MLK, Jr. Of course one would expect to find him in history books dealing with the relevant time period (I did); my literature readers were the most heavily dotted with King references (which makes this liberal arts major and literature junkie very happy). However, I also took a fair amount of religion courses as an undergrad (mostly plot, plot, plot; history, history, history), and I found one of my old religion texts (appropriately entitled Living Religions) contained a King reference relating to liberation theology. 

That led me to one of King's lesser read pieces on self-importance with which, as a man of the cloth rising in popularity and fame, he internally struggled. On this day, at this particular moment in time, when some pay lip service (and much worse) to civil rights and then hit the golf course, this extremely personal essay from King hits all the right bells and whistles. I leave you with the last two sentences which, when I re-read them, was a goose-bump moment for this very lapsed and definitely non-practicing Catholic:

"This is the prayer I pray to God every day, "Lord help me to see M. L. King as M. L. King in his true perspective." Because if I don't see that, I will become the biggest fool in America."

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